Friday, June 25, 2010

Carnivore Conundrum

Monkey Man went to the gym with me tonight. Unwillingly and whining, but I got him in the car and off we went. He sat pretty well through the class, and only complained a few times. I guess he didn’t notice that his mother was the one dripping with sweat, hitting a heavy bag, doing sprints, push-ups, and 9 bazillion squats. What the hell was he complaining about?

How did I squelch the annoying, “Mommmmyyy, how much longer? This is so borrrrring!” Here’s my secret:

“Monkey Man, want to stop at McDonald’s and get chicken nuggets and French fries?” I asked breathlessly, the hypocrisy and contradiction hanging out of my mouth the way my tongue was doing thinking about a thick McDonald’s chocolate milkshake. Mommy works her butt off in the gym, but yes! I will take you to the kingdom of childhood obesity. Let’s go!

We went through the drive-thru and ordered up some good old American junk food. As Monkey Man pulled one of the chicken nuggets out of the bag, he asked me if I wanted a bite. The conversation continued:

“No, thank you. Remember, Mommy and Daddy don’t eat meat?” I said.

“You don’t eat animals, right? What’s this made of?” Monkey Man inquired, although I’m fairly certain that I’ve had this conversation 20 times before. This child really needs to start doing crossword puzzles and taking some gingko biloba.

“Chicken,” I said, trying not be like, “Duh, it’s a CHICKEN nugget!” Sarcasm is really difficult for me to forgo sometimes. “Want me to tell you where other meat comes from? Ham and bacon come from pigs, turkey comes from turkeys, hamburgers and steak come from cows.”

“Is cheese an animal?” Monkey Man asked, and I replied, “No, but it’s made from milk which comes from cows.”

“Girl cows, right?” Monkey Man tried to clarify. “Because they have gutters.”

And I attempted to clarify further, “Um, you mean udders?” And Monkey Man cracked up at himself, “Oh, yeah, gutters are at bowling.”

Back on the vegetarian vs. carnivore track, I tell Monkey Man that there are other animals that people eat but they’re not as common. “Like peacocks?” he said. He’s had a fascination with peacocks lately having just seen them at a farm we visited.

“No, I don’t think people eat peacocks. But some people do eat ducks,” I said, shuddering. And so we continued…

“Ducks? With the feathers?” All this animal-eating talk had me convinced my child was going to turn vegan on me in a second. He seemed a little distraught at the idea of people eating his farm friends. But, alas, I had to inform him, that, no, they take the feathers off before they cook them. Like chickens. I reminded him that the dreaded “chicken” nugget no longer has feathers on it.

And again, Monkey Man’s comment seemed to tell me this was hitting home with him. “Do the chickens and ducks peck the people when they try to take their feathers off? Do they cut off their beaks?”

Here was Monkey Man thinking the chickens are gently plucked of their downy feathers and magically turned into a Ronald McDonald goldmine. But I had to tell him the cold, hard truth. That piece of information that takes all the innocence out of a chicken nugget. The potential turning point for a meat-loving person to consider the ways of vegetarianism.

“They kill them before they take their feathers off and cook them.”

A moment of silence. Monkey Man is thinking. I’m watching him in the rearview mirror. And here it comes…

Monkey Man: “I love meat!”

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Memo From Mom

DATE: JUNE 23, 2010

This memo is to commend you for being so awesomely fabulous. And by awesomely fabulous, I mean FREE.

We forget about you, neglect your aisles of cerebellum-enriching materials, horizon-expanding lectures, and of course, the all important VIDEO GAME.

When I was informed that you, my dear local library that shelves thousands of books – books about people who have influenced lives, books about far away places and exotic cultures, books sparking creativity and imagination – that you, you now have video games, well, I cried. With JOY!

Do I want my son’s mind to grow because of your broad inventory on all things intellectual? Of course. Do I want to avoid continuing to dump money on Wii games that this child plays once and forgets about? Abso-freakin-lutely.

Several years ago I thought you were the bomb when I rented about 4 seasons of Sex and the City after dropping half my salary at Blockbuster on Season 1 Discs 1-18, and Season 2 Discs 1-25. But this gift you’ve given, the gift of the free video game – Monkey Man just might have a shot at college thanks to the money you are saving me.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

New Weekly Feature - Memo from Mom

Check out the first post in my new weekly feature - Memo from Mom! The first one is to Steve Urkel of Family Matters. And it's not pretty.

Memo from Mom

TO: Urkel
FROM: A Tired, Cranky Mom
RE: Family Matters, but not at 6 a.m.
DATE: June 10, 2010

This memo is in reference to your appearances on my bedroom television between the hours of 6-7 a.m. No offense, Steve, but I was never a big fan of yours in the 80s on your sitcom, Family Matters. I always found you somewhat annoying. No, make that painstakingly, jab-myself-in-the-eardrums-with-barbecue-skewers annoying, what with that hideous laugh and your stereotypical nerd attire. Your floods, suspenders, big glasses, and ridiculous cardigans were as bad for my eyes as your fingers-on-chalkboard voice was to my ears.

Even when you became cool with that alter ego you created, Stefan Urquelle, you were still a cackling, snorting geek and as nerve-grating as ever. But, please note: I wikipedia’d that little nugget of information about your alter ego. No way in hell I remembered that. I actually thought you grew up. I have no recollection that you created a serum called “cool juice.” And then later, you created a cloning machine. And then later, I smashed all my New Kids on the Block jumbo buttons into my 15-inch television to make you go away for what I thought was forever.

But now, about 20 years later, as the mother of a child who wakes up at 6 a.m. and graces his mother with his presence at this ungodly hour, I want to hike up those flood pants to give you the world’s worst atomic wedgie ever. I thought Spongebob and his laugh were annoying, but you are what no human should have to hear when one starts their day anew.

Nickelodeon has made the seriously unwise choice of putting your show on from 6-6:30 a.m. and then 6:30-7 a.m. And Monkey Man makes the seriously unwise choice of coming into the den of a sleeping lioness at this time to watch Nick. He’ll watch anything, as long as it’s on Nick. And at this hour, I'll let him watch anything, as long as it's not porn. You might be thinking, “Well, then, take it up with the programming staff at Nick.” No. It is your voice I have to hear every morning so this is your problem.

Perhaps the worst part of all of this is how your show ends every freaking time. In the era of the after-school special – and I am NOT comparing your show to an after-school special, because after-school specials rocked, even if they were about creepy child molesters who lured children into cars with candy. (Geez, kids in the 80s were stupid. Candy? Seriously? Now you need to use an iPod or Nintendo DS for them to even consider for a moment getting in that car. Candy certainly would not make the cut in this over-indulged society).

So, as I was saying, back then, sitcoms had a moral to their 22-minute story. Now, every morning, I have to hear Carl the dad tell Laura his daughter (remember, the one you lusted after?) that she should practice abstinence. Because it’s the responsible thing to do. It’s always about being responsible. So at 6:30 I’m reminded about abstinence. Which I obviously didn’t practice, since the whole reason you’re on my television at 6 a.m. is because of my child.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Ph.D. Bound

Dearest Monkey Man,
It seems like only yesterday you were in preschool. Oh wait. It was only yesterday.

We are so proud of all of your accomplishments, Monkey Man. Your painting evolved from use of fingers to brushes, and you can now say your alphabet without jumbling up that whole "l m n o p" part. It is a sure sign that you are headed for an outstanding academic career.

But if Major League Baseball snatches you up when you're 20, I'm totally there for you. Whatever gets mommy to retirement in Hawaii the quickest.

Love Always,